National cycling lobby group Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) strongly supports the call of Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven for a review of the driving age. CAN chairperson Robert Ibell says: "All the carnage around young drivers in high performance cars is only one of the reasons we need to change the driving culture in New Zealand. The justifcation given for NZ having one of the youngest driving age in the world, that our rural teenagers would be stranded with an older driving age, doesn't stack up." According to the Ministry of the Environment, New Zealand has one of the more urbanised population in the world,
"We have a generation of kids growing up striving for the status of driving to school in their final years of secondary education. Yet we now have a school zoning system which means that most kids live within easy walking or cycling distance of school. If parents choose to have their children attend more distant schools, they will need to factor that into their housing and lifestyle choices. We can't continue to accommodate an increasingly car-dependant lifestyle in a world where oil supplies are shrinking." said Mr Ibell.
"As a minimum, CAN supports the raising of all stages of the graduated driving limit by one year. Driver training and testing need to be much more rigorous and there should also be compulsory third party insurance." said Mr Ibell.
CAN says that work is still required to improve the walking and cycling environment in our communities so that these modes are realistic choices for many people. Supportive central government policies are already in place, with a national walking and cycling strategy (2005) following the New Zealand Transport Strategy (2002) and Land Transport Management Act (2003, but local government and Transit NZ now need to work on a range of measures, including improved safety on our roads, to translate the policy into practice.
For further information contact: Robert Ibell, CAN chairperson, 04-972 2552, firstname.lastname@example.org.